ERI is the next-generation #wearabletech wristband
When I recently blogged a shopping list of “must have” requirements for the next-generation of smart wristband, Jimmy Liao got the memo. We met up last week in Shenzhen, China, where Hong Kong-based Jimmy was able to show off a prototype of his device, ERI, and explain what makes it special.
On first glance, ERI looks like just another tech wristband – and shares many design cues with the Fitbit Force. Except that it’s thinner, thanks to the use of a flexible battery. The patented flexible battery design also provides a half month’s charge in one go – helping solve one of the biggest gripes with the current generation of bands.
“We did a lot of work in developing a battery that would actually flex with the device,” explained Jimmy. “We considered a curved battery but realized that for true flexibility, the battery needed to be bendy, and to last twice or three times as long as the current generation of devices. It wasn’t easy, but we did it!”
The ERI is really packed with technology. There’s NFC (near-field communication) – which according to other wearable experts I chatted to in Shenzhen last week, could ultimately replace Bluetooth for data sync with smartphones. This also means ERI can be used as an identity token. Out running without your credit card? Pay for your coffee at the end of your jog with a wave of your wrist …
Jimmy’s firm DigiCare is also ahead in using nano-silicon for an improved wristband. As previously noted, the current generation of bands are let down by a silicon bracelet that both looks and feels cheap. At least nano-silicon has a softer touch, and once on the wrist, feels almost weightless.
At 6mm, ERI is thinner than the current generation of trackers, as well as packing in an OLED digital display. And there’s more – Jimmy says that proprietary algorithms allow ERI to automatically detect and track different kinds of sports activity – for example, jogging, horse riding and even swimming. It’s not the only proto-band out there to claim this – there are several others on Indiegogo, for example Amiigo, which raised more than 6x its initial funding goal earlier this year.
Jimmy was coy on the detail but says the ERI can even track routes without using a bulky and battery-life consuming GPS module, thanks to capturing “geo-magnetic variation data”. The ERI also includes an ambient temperature sensor, and a pressure sensor, which can be used to help calculate altitude.
Launched on Indiegogo just 10 days ago, Jimmy is hoping to raise a total of US $50,000 by the end of December, and expects the first bands to ship in January 2014. So far he’s raised just over $4k. If he succeeds, then he’ll be shipping just as the competition are launching at CES in Las Vegas.
UPDATE: DigiCare extended the Indiegogo campaign until mid-January, and with 8 days left, has almost hit the target with just under $5k to go …